Tips for a triumphant job application
by Nicolás Hirschhorn
Have you ever heard of Tinder? If you have you’re probably familiar with the concept of swiping right and left. If you haven’t, you’re either in a very stable relationship or come from 1986, in which case I welcome you, time traveller. There’s a lot up to catch up with but this is probably not what you should be reading to do so.
Well, anyone who has worked in Recruiting can relate to the concept of swiping: we swipe left, we swipe right, we sometimes get an eye sore, and other times fall in love at first sight and press the longed super Like button.
Now that you know the basic concept of what we do, let me tell you that it is not easy being in our shoes. We at 5CA receive dozens (sometimes even hundreds) of applications every single day and we pride ourselves in reading every single one of them. Yes, including those motivation letters you sometimes send without even changing the name of the company you sent it to a few minutes ago. And yes, we can tell when you’re doing this.
Over the course of this article I will provide you with 5 tips to make your job application at 5CA more efficient, and any application for what it’s worth.
1. Summarize your resume
There’s a reason why this is number one in our list. Your resume is your first (and sometimes only) chance to make an impression on us and you need to make efficient use of it.
Imagine you’re working as a Customer Service Representative for an awesome company like, say, 5CA. You receive a ten-page e-mail request from a customer that could’ve been summarized in only one, but you must read through all of it because you need to ensure you’re not missing an important detail. Well, that’s the position we’re in every single day: we sometimes receive detailed resumes that are unnecessarily long, explaining us how your day was like back in 2002 when you had that job feeding turtles at Sea World. Summarize content and focus on the important details.
The format of your resume is also extremely important. We receive applications from all over the world for our work-from-home program and at this point we perfectly understand that each culture has its own format that is considered “appropriate” for its CV, so try to find a middle ground. Unnecessary pictures and frames, flashy background colours and unprofessional fonts can bring a very important consequence: now we have a bad first impression on you. Not the best way to start an application, is it?
Your resume is your main tool to present yourself to prospective employers, so spend time on it. That will say a lot about the kind of person you are, and can be a key aspect in determining your next career move.
2. Read our job description
We try to be as thorough as possible in our job descriptions, detailing schedules, expectations and what we need from you. If we open an evening shift and you apply for it we will assume you’re available to work after dark. That, or you’re a vampire that wants to do gaming support, in which case I warn you to stay away from us: we have garlic.
My point here is that it won’t reflect well on your application when your skillset, availability or expectations don’t match what we’re expecting from a candidate, especially if the job description contains a detailed explanation of what we’re looking for.
We sometimes receive applications of very enthusiastic candidates who want to be considered for a position providing support in Danish because they once saw a Lars von Trier movie. Well, I know how to order an orange juice in German but that doesn’t mean I can successfully guide a German customer through a complex troubleshooting process.
We use the Common European Framework to assess languages: C2 means that you are a Native speaker. We expect you to be at a C1 level to able to provide support in a language, which means that you have a formal education in that language or lived in a country where it is spoken. Here are three common mistakes we find regarding language proficiency:
- “I lived in Brazil for three months and people wouldn’t stare at me in a confused awe when I tried to speak in Portuguese. Surely I can provide support in this language”. Well, you might think you’re fluent in Portuguese after a few caipirinhas but trust me: it’s not the case.
- “I’m Italian, therefore I can understand written Spanish, therefore I can provide support in it”. We love Italian people and we thank you for the incredible pasta, but Spanish is a different language.
- “I was born in Transylvania and once talked in sign language with a French woman back in 1465”. OK you’re freaking me out now. I really think you’re a vampire so I will repeat this one last time: you’re not invited to come in.
If you can’t find a position that sounds like a good fit for you but you’re very eager to work for 5CA (and let’s admit it, who wouldn’t?) you can apply to the Multilingual Customer Service position. We guarantee you that we read every single resume we receive and yours won’t be an exception.
4. Grammar and spelling
We know how hard it is to write in a foreign language and it’s a huge accomplishment that you’re able to even write a short sentence in it but, as I said before, we assume you spent time in your CV. If you didn’t proofread or spell-check that will say a lot about you and your lack of attention to detail.
5. Video CV!
We live in the 21st century. People don’t want to read things anymore (so if you reached the end of this article I’m really proud of you and thank you for it!) and everything tends to be visual, so a perfect way to draw our attention is preparing a video CV. There are several platforms out there that support video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) set in a private mode if you don’t want to share your details with the world or you’re not interested in being the next PewDiePie.
A video CV will give you a chance to tell us more about you in 2 minutes: you can tell us what you expect from 5CA, how many languages you speak or show us your scary vampire fangs (OK I’m tired of this, I’m sure we’ll find a place for you at 5CA so come join us). It’s the perfect chance to show us how much you can innovate and what you can bring to the table.
I sincerely hope this has been useful for you and I’m looking forward to our first interview. I’m sure you can be a great addition to our team. This is your chance to show us why, so use it wisely!
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Nicolás is 5CA’s Human Resources Lead. He has a Law Degree from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management. He has been working for 5CA for two years.